Monday, February 28, 2011


this weekend was a blur and though i try not to be exhausted this opening after a week of closing schedule takes its toll. not much can be done about that, but i've slept a bit and feel human again.

considering a lot of revisions on my work and that is taxing in itself. it's not that the revisions are so major, many of them i even agree with and accept, it's just the poem that is slated for a major overhaul is one that i am deeply connected to. i am told to change it for the program and do what i want later. would it were so simple for me.

the thing about poetry is, it's not prose. so when i'm told to strengthen my verb (which is a phrase i am borrowing from a past critique) and then in the space of the same poem told that i am relying too heavily on verbs i wonder which words to focus on. fewer strong verbs is i guess the answer, but again, were it that simple i'd have done it.

there is a redundancy that i use, a way i reiterate. nothing. nada. zilch. like that. i say the same thing in a different way. when someone asks me to cut the nada and zilch, i flinch a bit because while the words may be the same, in the same vein, it is the repetition i'm after. i am told that a prosaic consideration is not to use unnecessary words, but this is poetry. is poetry bound to the same rules as prose? i believe not. that is my dilemma. if i'm doing something for a sound device, as i notice when i alter a verb in a line from dangling to dangle, the sound of the line changes. the cadence changes. i try to explain this, but i talk mostly with prose writers and they look at me.

just as when the fonts on the page are not doing what they could, i balk. i have this one word with accents and the accents in the chosen font disrupt the visual impact of the word. slightly mauling the word, so, to me, this is a font issue and cause for concern. a new font considered. if i use a sanserif i can fit an entire poem on a page in this particular font. however, if i go with my mainstay serif, the poem extends a foot on a second page. in a thesis when page count rules, this seems to be an easy solution, go with the sanserif to get in the pages. to preserve the layout of the poem, because when a poem kicks onto a second page, i prefer to lay it out on facing pages, so the poem is still on one visual field. (i know, i'm such a dork)

poetry, my friends, is art. we use words and negative space to create the visual impact.

so, the issue remains, preserve the page number though the sanserif font alters the look of an accented word or keep searching for a serif font that works.

i am going to first try a different font for the accented passage in question. fortunately, it is an epigraph and can be set in a separate font, though i do not go for any more than three fonts in a book, this would be my third font.

all i want is a clean poetic line. an image that is presented on the page the way i see it. and a font that lends itself to the poem.

these are the nerdy considerations on my mind of late. they are pressing. i had a flash of insight last night, as i had put together my poetry collection in a particular way the best i could. the final three poems were remnants and i wasn't sure how to exit the book. so last night i get this flash and had to jump out of bed to see if it is what i did with those poems, how i ordered them because the overall theme of the book is addressed, summed up, if you will, in these concluding poems. lightning strike, if i can pull it off (and if it passes my prof's muster), and sure enough, i had them in that order. sigh of relief, off to bed.

my dreams were troubling, stress dreams a friend calls them.

though i have very little to stress about, she laughs as the line falls from her fingers, i am still having stress dreams.

i'm awake now, the day is new, the task at hand will resolve itself.
and the poems will grow from revision.

one thing i said to my prof is, i don't want to end up around the corner and down the street with these poems in revision. because that is not revising, that's mining a poem for new work. if i'm going to revise this poem, let it remain true to the spirit of this poem and improve, not evolve. there is a time and place for evolution, under the guise of revision is not it.


Tuesday, February 22, 2011


the center cannot hold. i think that is a line from a william stafford poem, i am going to have to track it down. my center feels all stretched and splayed, like it is a fibrous membrane where it once was solid

how to find my center again. i hadn't thought i'd wandered so far off that i'd lost sight of everything that grounds me, but i think i have.

nursing some fairly serious wounds at the moment. but all ends well.
how does it?
i don't know.
it's a mystery.

title poem

so my prof wants me to overhaul the title poem in my manuscript. i find this deeply troubling because i don't necessarily agree with what is being requested and i'm not sure i know how to find a middle ground. i guess i just better start slashing and bleeding. trying something is better than doing nothing. but it seems to me the things i keep explaining are explained within the poem and i hate saying, don't u see that? because then i don't know if they see it only because i've explained it (that must be the case, as it was an issue before the explanation) or what.

so on top of all that, i have to navigate the city tomorrow for jury duty. may the gods favor me because i never really know where i'm going when i go. i have to just try my luck and hope i arrive on time. i would really like to be on a case but i don't know that it is wise. though i'd rather go to the city than do my job any day.

i have a cat asleep across my chest, and another at my feet. i'm going to follow their lead and snuggle in for a nap.


there are still these moments i find myself calling out to you, almost in spite of my conscious mind. i don't try to stop it anymore. i don't try to ignore it anymore, i kind of consider it like when my grams died, and how i miss her still. yes, it's that way with you.

meetings today, don't want to go but i've no out. though i've made significant progress on my thesis and come to many conclusions about my work, it's been an interesting process so far, and it has just begun. i'm trying to abandon myself to the process, and by that i mean, go with it. so i've reformatted nearly every poem and i'm in the process of revising. there is much to do but i'm equal to the task and my work will be better for it. even the changes i don't think are right i might go with just to see if they will fly. my conscience roars when i do something that i can't tolerate, so i will just do it and see how much sleep i lose. ;)
what a plan.

in the way of things my unconventional life continues to right itself and i'm grateful. my sister told me a phrase,
i stay in unsafe situations too long because i'm too loyal,
and this is true. even now i struggle to find safe ground in dangerland. but sometimes comfort is what keeps me, even when i'm scared. and that's just sad.

sad or not, it is what it is. i understand that now. i must be about my life. and hope to encounter wonder today.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

the art of losing

is not hard to master. i don't want that to be the lesson i leave this life with. i want to find and be found. always have. never really sure i make that possible for anyone, inclined to hiding, recoiling as i am. not with some strategy in mind, but the way a snail recoils when you touch it's soft opaque antennae. i pull in, shelter, and then slime away when the danger has passed. it is what i do. so easily i don't even really think about it much. though my friends have been pointing it out when they say they miss me. i try to oblige and return, but it's hard for me to stay. to navigate the salt flats i find myself in the midst of. and i'm tired.

i try not to say it, i try not to feel it, i try not to think it, but it's true. i realize when i don't have my girl underfoot, though she's hardly underfoot anymore, i tend to crash. though i've been rather productive the past couple days, i've a week to go. a whole week to go. the city to tame. ha!

jury duty in the city of all places. i love an adventure and this promises to be one. so i will board that train and head on out as if i know where i'm going and put on my la tough and try to enjoy the journey.

i so want a companion though.

and sometimes, i feel it profoundly.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

um, yeah

so i rearranged my apartment, sometimes i just need a different vantage point and i get tired of the same view of the same walls. if i plan to be here a while, and i do, i need to figure out a configuration that works for me. this is better.

but i'm tired now. i hate my job and it needs to change sooner than later. i'm over the novelty or whatever it was that was keeping me there, has kept me there so long. my body needs a rest. and if by rest you think i mean a job where i'm sitting on my ass all day, yes, that is the kind of job i mean. that, or the freedom to come and go as i please. i'd rather come and go, than be stuck on my ass all day.

i am still a bit perplexed about the two poems my prof said i must not leave out of my newest collection. it's not that i don't want them in, it's just that they are more comfortable for me with caps. and i've removed all caps for this collection. i guess i will try them sans caps.

i heard one of them today on my ipod, the swordsman, and it is a poem i'm very fond of. the other, empty of sorrow, is profoundly moving for other reasons.

i'm not saying anything, so i'll go.

Saturday, February 12, 2011


so beat. i slept a bit, now i'm awake. seems my body has to recover from work and that isn't a good thing. today i had some customer telling me i was mad, and i said once,
i'm not mad.
and she said,
a bit.
like she knew and i didn't. people are nuts. i swear.

so many changes are happening so fast, but without the speed we might not follow through. i think sometimes it's easy to back off in fear instead of moving forward. i want to move forward into the unknown. i know the known, and it's time for a change. past time.

so i soaked my feet when i got home, that's how i know it was bad. that and the fact that i could hardly stand by the time i got home. and now i'm wide awake, gotta open tomorrow, so i need to pass out in short order. i checked out a few movies to help ease the transition from here to the dream realm, sometimes when i put on kid movies my brain just clicks off and i go out like a light. it worked with shrek forever after. i was hoping it would work with another movie i checked out but the movie isn't playing. grrr. time to pop a benedryl. the trouble is, i get so tired my body roars a dull ache, and my brain whirrs.

i saw a style editor job was open and i must go apply for it. funny, how i'm contemplating fonts and the next job i see which appeals to me is style editor. not for a fashion magazine, mind you, but for a word situation. i would like to get that. geek out on fonts and pagination like i do and actually get paid. it would be classic if that were the gig i landed. may it be so.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

time to go back

i've had three days off, what have i done with those three days, watched an entire tv series on dvd which was quite good. i rested and did things that had to be done. fought with my friend. estranged myself. the usual.

so now i'm sitting here a mild headache that has been droning all day, and i am ready to go back to work.

it's odd, how i can't wait for a weekend and then do absolutely nothing productive with it. i had some thoughts about my manuscript, about the fonts and pagination, the layout and such, but that's as much as i've got.

i've read a couple poetry books but they didn't move me and i'm contemplating the larger questions as to what makes us want to read, what makes us respond to another's work. i'm beginning to think it's something as selfish as finding ourselves, finding our experience, finding something that makes some sound that echoes in the inner chambers of our hearts. because i can't find anything rational. i wanted to expose myself to more experimental poets and i'm doing that but i find the process in many ways frustrating because i just don't get it. why should i care about something that makes no sense.

but then, isn't that the same question being asked of my work on a smaller scale. on a line by line, word by word scale?

i was telling a friend about question marks in my manuscript, how i'm losing them all, and she shook her head and said,

these are serious considerations for me.

the way the words play on the page, even the font in which they are set, these are the stuff of poetry.

but is this minutia?

possibly. though my questions don't go away by dismissal. they must be acknowledged and so i will continue to wrestle with these questions. minor though they may seem, until i am satisfied with my decision.

ultimately, these are concessions in some cases, will i sacrifice a chosen serif font for a san serif if it means garnering a few extra pages for additional poems? if someone wants me to incorporate quotes will that detract from my final page count? these questions might be a blessing for someone struggling with not enough material, but that has never been my issue. i have, tend to have, too much material to fit into a book. so what to do?

if i am printing and binding something with my name on it, i would like it to be representative of my work, not just spat out for a credential, though we have previously established i do want this credential.

these are the times i feel i am alone on an island and wish for an artistic soul mate.

maybe my work is fraught with self import, but maybe, it isn't.

this is when i welcome the work week to take me away from conscious focus on my creative questions with a barrage of mundane menial tasks to occupy my time and mind.

work does have that benefit. it is a distraction if nothing else.

Monday, February 07, 2011

stick it where?

so the other day this customer gives me no small amount of shyte after i tell her she can't tell me how to price her drink. ultimately, she tells me
to stick it
and i said,
you're a peach.
and walked away. sigh. people.

i would really like a job where people don't dump their bad mood on me, i was shaking after our encounter because i was really trying to get through it without succumbing. i think i did good, maybe that is progress. i'd like to think i have a thick skin but i really don't. i get less and less of this behavior so i'm glad i'm working out that karma.

exhausted. there is no other way to say it. this workweek wiped me out. and today, all i could do was say,
can i please leave?
ultimately, i left no earlier than scheduled but it was a bear making it through. i wanted to collapse. so now i have three days off and i'm looking forward to them. i'm going for a therapeutic pedicure on my aching feet tomorrow, and a nice lunch with my friend. we'll have margaritas and good conversation about everything. think we're doing mexican, possibly indian, but we it's more about the conversation than the meal. though it's nice when they compliment each other.

i watched the office marathon in the hours i was off work and able to do little more than veg. it was fitting that was the show that occupied my zone out time. art imitating life? it's really a dumb show, but maybe that's why i like it.

i need a few days to rest, then a short workweek, and hopefully a few more days to rest. my stamina just ain't what it used to be. i can't feel bad about that and i have to be patient with my body. the signals are clear. i'm not there yet. i'm farther than i was, but i have not arrived.

when my feet throb little else can occupy my mind.

i had been watching animal extractors, and for the third time now, i ejected the possum who has taken to my cats' makeshift shelter. i hope that silly possum finds somewhere else to sleep, never seen anything like it, a possum who sleeps on a porch. but there ain't no shortage of food (the bird feeders are constantly full), so he's happy here. i just wish he'd not occupy the shelter. though it is nice, if i do say so myself.

can't even tell a real story at the moment. i'm fried.

Thursday, February 03, 2011


i'm not sure how much poetry requires sense to make sense. for some poets, not a bit. for others, it reads almost like prose, yet it is not prose. where is the line of demarcation?

sometimes there are images and ideas that i've given clues to a reader within my diction. if a particular reader misses those clues, do i opt to alter the poem for that reader? usually no. even when i have a profoundly brilliant reader whom i want to get it, i refuse to put the cookies on the bottom shelf. i'm not that kind of writer.

so, when something is as clear as i'm willing to make it, it must ride. there are questions to be unanswered in the best poetry. that is what makes you come back for more.

i get that i'm supposed to want to be accessible, and believe me, i have opened many more doors than i had open before. but i can't just go dump my load in the marketplace void of my particular style. i can't.

it's the same dilemma that presents itself each time i go for publication. which is why i'm happy not to be traditionally published. perhaps i'm shortchanging myself by taking this perspective, but i've tried to alter it to no avail.

and when i write like this, and say things the way i say them, some readers comment,
i'm off put by thus and such

but that is my voice. if i change it in the context of the one poem you are viewing, it leaves a blank spot in my voice a studder in my diction that is not inherently mine.

so when kokopelli doesn't make actual sense, i'm cool with that, really, kokopelli doesn't have to make sense for me to accept his presence in my poem. it's about more than one small mind or even one large mind. it's about a story, an image, an idea. there are those who would get it, even my mention of him here is ripe with meaning. but not to all.

i do not write for all. that is what i've come to understand. to accept.

so i will step away from it for a moment because the fire is burning me. and try to cool. come back to it when i'm less impassioned about my vision, my voice. but that will never be. so i'll just go away for as long as i can, then return and push ahead. my conscience has proven it will not let me cave. i'm grateful for that force of strength i do not know from where it comes. but i welcome it. in so many things i have let my vision go, my dream die. but not this. never this. this is my soul expression. if it were less, perhaps i would give it up. but i can't.

and so, i get this, craft matters lecture when i say this kind of thing. but i'm not saying it doesn't. i'm saying, i'm choosing to craft my poems with soul. that is not to say anyone else's poems are void of soul, i do not have an opinion of other's poems unless they solicit it. but for me, for this moment, for theses poems, they are my breath, my sound, my being. and i will not let them become less than they are.

will this be a wise strategy for completing my mfa? well, of course not. but sometimes wisdom must be gained by fighting for something unknown, unexperienced. i just have to let others in and explain a few things. things i've made plain in my diction but apparently too subtly, so i will go there, i will trust that the wisdom of my prof will prevail and that our exchange of respect and willingness will be fruitful. however that is to occur.

the time of revision is at hand. there are some poems i had thought to exclude from this manuscript, two favorites of mine, reminiscent of a dream long passed, but she insists i include them. and so i will.

i cut them because i kept saying,
i've already written that book, i won't do it again.

it's time for the next book. though these poems came after the last book and technically haven't been published yet. my issue is, i don't want the dominant he if the poem, the true stallion confused with the band stallion. how to make this clear.

it appears horses and creatures will continue to have a prominent place in my work.

and now, to invoke the dreamweaver.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

snow, snow, go away...

for some i wish this, my sweet has to dig herself out of the white stuff, while i don't really have to struggle with it. where i live they plow pretty regularly and things stay quite in hand. though, having a tractor and using a shovel are two completely different approaches. and, we haven't been hit like boston has. i sometimes wish i were there to lend a hand.

boston. it's still on my mind, but not on my agenda for a season. which will be well, i'm sure of it. i would like to know what will happen, but for now, i'm just trying to be present and enjoy the unfolding.

i have to read my packet, got it back from my prof. i've only read her letter and one poem where we discussed one comma and i decided to rid myself of the question mark entirely. this is the labor of my semester at the moment, deciding my punctuation. it might seem easy to either remove it all or use it, but it's a tough consideration because where i used line breaks to convey some movement, i'm changing that so it all really needs to be reconsidered.

what i will end up with is a unified stylized manuscript at the end of this and that excites me. i seem to keep having the van gogh discussion. ultimately i now say, van gogh must be van gogh. and deshchidn must be deshchidn. there is no getting around it, i must remain faithful to the vision, the voice. even if, especially if no one gets it.

i've been reading silko and find her a comfort and a kindred. someone who feels like my grandmother speaking to me, explaining the things i feel deep inside but cannot yet articulate.

and i've been very tired. physically exhausted. i'm sure because i'm just getting back into the game. but i gave up my day off today and i felt every minute of it through my entire body. ache, ache, ache. only now, i get a chair and sit down because i can't force myself to stand on a foot that had changed so dramatically.

so, i hope to regain my strength and stamina. and remember, or discover what it means to have fun.

my resolution this year is to have fun, and i've realized, i don't even know what that means. i've changed so much, what does it mean to have fun now? in this skin. at this time of my life? not entirely sure.